This is a topic where I catch myself arguing both sides. The idea of creating a safe environment for your children is both beautiful and Biblical. Song of Solomon 2:14-15 Talks about the little foxes that spoil the vines. This is usually applied to the sanctity of marriage but could also describe our need to keep distraction and idols rising up between us and God–as well as protecting our children.
True, our children are our first ministry. And this is the biggest argument I hear in homeschool circles. One way we tried to keep the foxes out was unhooking the cable. (Sorry to offend those who use PBS as a teaching tool.) It worked for us.
Others make sure their kids only meet similar families. “Homeschool only” or “Our denomination only” functions, plays and events. The problem is: when do you eventually merge into the world? And the safer your group becomes, the harder it is to leave it.
- “Those brazen public school girls…calling my son on the phone, they just aren’t like homeschool girls.”
- “We want our kids to only meet people who believe like us.”
When I heard that second comment I was desperate for a homeschool community, and she was explaining why I hadn’t yet found one.
This isn’t just homeschool families but any group who shuts out the world. Some families go so far they don’t allow their kids to attend their own church’s youth group because of the risk of contamination by the world.
It is good and right to guard your vineyard. I wouldn’t suggest otherwise. But if we create a churchyard, lock the gate and stay inside, what is the ultimate goal?
To live in a garden where our children are never tempted to sin?
To pat ourselves on the back for how well we raised them, send them off to college and wish them luck? (Then pray for their prodigal return.)
Or make sure they are married at a young age to another, similarly raised?
Otherwise, when do you unlock the gate?